Ali, that was precisely Jin Yong's intention. Crazee, CFT, thanks for the encouragement. My parents had me learned Chinese when I was a kid, but I was never interested, never used it, so my comprehension is probably only second or third grade. Soifuron, Ace, good observation. Smurf, are you saying they never met in the adaptation? Anh, no comment.
Wu Liuqi said, “Ever since Xiongdi entered Tian Di Hui, there was not a day I did not wish to see Zongduozhu. There is a saying in Jianghu, ‘Whoever never knew Chen Jinnan, he calls himself a hero in vain.’ Starting today, I can call myself a hero. Ha ha, ha ha …”
Chen Jinnan said, “Jianghu friends praised me too much, I am really ashamed.”
The two of them were genuinely happy to see each other, there was instant bond between them as they talked freely about their long life’s aspiration; immediately they forgot the wind and the rain outside the boat.
After chatting for a while, the storm gradually subsided. Chen Jinnan asked about Wu Sangui’s affair, Wei Xiaobao told him everything in thrilling details; unavoidably he added spices, soy paste, and everything else they had been through, so that it was the first time even for Ma Chaoxing to hear about it. Chen Jinnan was very delighted to hear that they had obtained the Mongolian emissary Hatiemo, a conclusive proof that Wu Sangui would definitely raise arm to rebel. When he heard about Luocha Country was going to respond Wu Sangui from the north by seizing a large of territory outside the Pass, he could not help knitting his brows and did not say anything for half a day.
“Shifu,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Luocha Country people have red hair and green eyes, those we do not need to be afraid, at most we won’t look at their faces too much and that’s the end. Their firearms, however, are very formidable. When their guns explode, no matter what kind of hero or warrior you are, you won’t be able to withstand.”
“That is the reason I am worried,” Chen Jinnan replied, “Wu Sangui and the Tatars fighting each other until both sides suffer, that is exactly the golden opportunity bestowed by the Heaven to restore our Han people’s mountains and rivers. However, we drive the tiger out from the front door, and let the wolf come in from the back door. We drive away the Tatars, the Luocha Country, who is more ferocious that the Tatars, will come and occupy our beautiful rivers and mountains. How can that be good?”
Wu Liuqi asked, “Is there really nothing we can do to handle the Luocha Country’s firearms?”
“There is one person,” Chen Jinnan replied, “I may introduce him to the two gentlemen.” Walking to the cabin’s mouth, he called, “Xingzhu, come over here.”
From the opposite boat someone replied, “Yes.” He leaped onboard and entered the cabin. He bowed slightly toward Chen Jinnan. This man was about forty years old, his stature was thin and small, his face carried a heroic expression.
Chen Jinnan said, “Please meet Wu Dage, Ma Dage. And this is my disciple, surnamed Wei.” The man bowed with cupped fist. Wu Liuqi and the others stood up and returned the propriety.
Chen Jinnan said, “This is Lin Xingzhu, Lin Xiongdi. He has been in Taiwan working with me, a very competent man. When Guoxing Ye defeated the red-haired devils in the past and captured Taiwan, Lin Xiongdi has rendered great merit.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Lin Dage has fought with the red-haired devils; that is very good. Luocha devils have firearms, the red-haired devils also have firearms. Lin Dage must have a way to deal with them.”
Wu Liuqi and Ma Chaoxing applauded together; they both said, “Wei Xiongdi’s brain is very quick.”
At first Wu Liuqi did not take Wei Xiaobao seriously, he thought that it was only because he was the Zongduozhu’s disciple that he achieved such a high position as the Xiangzhu of the Green Wood Hall. Although for the past few years the Green Wood Hall had accomplished not a few meritorious deeds, it was not necessarily because of this young fellow. Seeing him to be infatuated with Ah Ke, his despise was elevated by several degrees. However, this time he could not help but admiring him, “This little baby can see matters very quickly, he must have some ability.”
Chen Jinnan smiled and said, “When Guoxing Ye attacked Taiwan in the past, the red-haired devils’ firearms were very formidable, it was indeed extremely difficult to withstand. At that time we built earth embankment, encircling several thousands of the red-haired troops in the city. We cut the water supply to the city, so that they had no water to drink. The red-haired troops could not endure anymore, they charged out of the city. We did not fight during the day, we only engaged them at night. Xingzhu, why don’t you tell everybody how we fought the battle?”
Lin Xingzhu said, “Our Jun Shi’s [lit. army master – military strategist] divine strategy was very clever …” Chen Jinnan was serving Zheng Chenggong as his military strategist, and was able to render great merit, hence the armed forces called him the ‘Jun Shi’.
“Jun Shi?” Wei Xiaobao questioned. He saw Lin Xingzhu was looking at Chen Jinnan, his Shifu smiled; immediately he understood. “Ah,” he said, “Shifu, turns out you are Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Jun Shi defeated the rattan-armored troop, Chen Jun Shi defeated the red-haired troop.”
Lin Xingzhu said, “Guoxing Ye offered sacrifice on the river on the first day of the second month of Yong Li’s fifteenth year, leading all civil and military officials, personal guards and armed self-defense troops. They sailed on battleships, from Ke Luo Bay out to the ocean, and reached Penghu [county, Pescadores Islands, Taiwan] twenty-four days later. By the first of the fourth month they arrived at Taiwan’s Lu Er Men [lit. deer ears gate]. There was sandbar outside the Gate, several dozen li long, the red-haired troops drilled holes on their ship and scuttled it to block the harbor, our battleship could not enter. While we were at a loss of what to do that time, suddenly the tide sharply rose, the soldiers’ cry of joy shook the heavens, our battleships rode the water and went ashore at the naval base port. The red-haired troops opened fire. Guoxing Ye told everybody that if we retreated a single step and were driven back to the ocean, it would mean we die without a burial site. Although the red-haired devils’ firearm was formidable, everybody charged forward courageously. The troops followed the order together, with Jun Shi personally led the assault. Suddenly, there was an explosion by my ears, as if several hundreds or thousands thunderclap struck together, a row of the brothers in front fell down. We panicked and ran away.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “The first time I heard the red-haired gun exploded, I was also so scared that I collapsed and lost my mind.”
Lin Xingzhu said, “Just as I was moving my hands and feet in confusion like a fly without a head, I heard Jun Shi’s loud voice, ‘After red-haired devils fire their guns, they must reload the gunpowder and the bullet, everybody charge!’ I hastily led the brothers to charge forward. Sure enough, for a short while the red-haired devils could not open fire. However, we have just charged forward, the red-haired devils opened fire again. I immediately rolled down on the ground to evade, not a few brothers were killed. There was no other way; we were forced to retreat. The red-haired devils did not dare to pursue. Several hundred brothers died in this battle, we were all crestfallen. Thinking about the red-haired devils’ firearms, ‘our heart was alarmed, our flesh leaping’.”
“And then Jun Shi figured out an ingenious plan?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“That’s right!” Lin Xingzhu shouted, “That evening, Jun Shi came to me and asked, ‘Lin Xiongdi, you are a disciple of Mount Wuyi’s [in Fujian] Di Tang [paradise terrestrial] School, are you not?’ I said yes. Jun Shi said, ‘When the red-haired devils opened fire earlier, you immediately rolled down on the ground; your movement was very nimble.’ I was extremely ashamed; I said, ‘Reporting to Jun Shi: Xiao Jiang [little/lowly general – referring to self] will not dare to be greedy for life, afraid of death anymore. In the battle tomorrow, I will definitely not dare to roll around to evade, and thus damaging our Great Ming’s officers and men’s power and prestige. Otherwise, you may just chop my head.’”
“Lin Dage,” Wei Xiaobao said, “My guess is that Jun Shi did not blame you for being greedy for life, afraid of death; he was praising the way you rolled around to evade as very good, and he wanted you to impart that skill to the other brothers.”
Chen Jinnan cast him a glance; there was a hint of smile on his face, apparently he was praising his disciple. Lin Xingzhu slapped his thigh and loudly said, “That’s right. You are Jun Shi’s disciple, indeed brilliant master produces brilliant student …”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “You are my Shifu’s subordinate, indeed there are no weak soldiers under a capable general.” Everybody laughed.
Lin Xingzhu continued, “That night Jun Shi indeed instructed me just that. He said, ‘You must not misunderstand my meaning. I think your Yan Qing [lit. swallow green] Eighteen Tumble, Flying Squirrel on the Grass’ style will be very useful; you can roll to the enemy, and then use the saber to hack their legs. How’s your mastery of Di Tang Saber Technique?’ When I heard that Jun Shi was not scolding me as a coward who was afraid to die, I was relieved. I said, ‘Reporting to Jun Shi: Xiao Jiang did practice some Di Tang Saber Technique. In the past Shifu told me that if I go into battle, I could roll forward and hack the enemy horse’ legs; but the red-haired devils do not ride on horses, I am afraid it is useless.’ Jun Shi said, ‘Although the red-haired devils do not ride horses, we can chop their legs; why can’t we?’ When I heard that, I suddenly saw the light. ‘Yes, yes,’ I repeatedly said, ‘Xiao Jiang’s brain did not work, I did not think about that.’”
Wei Xiaobao smiled; he mused, “Just because your Shifu told you that this saber technique could be used to chop horses’ legs, you assumed it cannot be used to chop people’s legs. Laoxiong’s [old fellow] brain is really not too bright.”
Lin Xingzhu said, “And then Jun Shi instructed me to demonstrate the saber technique. He praised my mastery as adequate, he said, ‘Your Di Tang School’s saber technique, if you had not had ten summers and winters worth of training, you would not have reached this level. But we must fight the battle tomorrow, if we want everybody to train, there won’t be enough time.’ I said, ‘Yes, Xiao Jiang’s training in this Di Tang School Saber Technique is not good, but I have indeed trained it for more than ten years.’ Jun Shi said, ‘We will catch-up by building earth embankment, and defend it with bow and arrow. You will immediately teach the soldiers and generals the technique of rolling and chopping the enemy’s legs. If everybody can learn only three or four styles, that will do. You should not need to teach them the profound martial art of Di Tang School.’ I accepted Jun Shi’s order, and that very same night I taught the troop of our own team. Early in the morning the next day, the red-haired devils attacked. We returned with bows and arrows. Our team had mastered five moves of the Di Tang Saber Technique, in turn they taught the officers and soldiers of other teams. Jun Shi also instructed everybody to cut down tree branches and tie them together as shields to keep off the red-haired troops’ lead bullets. Early morning the fourth day, the red-haired troops launched a large-scale attack. We went up to meet the enemy head-on. Rolling forward, we managed to completely rout the red-haired devils. The battlefield was littered with several hundred hairy legs. Even the head of the red-hairs, Chikan City’s garrison commander’s left leg was also chopped down. And thus this head of the red-haired devils surrendered. Afterwards, when we attacked the defense cities, we also used the same method.”
Ma Chaoxing happily said, “When we fight the war against the Luocha devils someday, we can use this skill to deal with them.”
“However,” Chen Jinnan said, “The situation is somewhat different. In those days, there were no more than three, four thousand red-haired troops in Taiwan; we kill one, their number decreases by one. If the Luocha troops came to invade, at least there would be several tens of thousands people. If they come in a steady stream, we won’t be able to kill them all. What’s more, Di Tang Saber Technique can only be used in close combat. If Luocha troops used cannon to bombard us, it would be difficult to withstand.”
Wu Liuqi nodded his agreement. “In Jun Shi’s opinion, what should we do?” he asked. He noticed that when Chen Jinnan introduced him to Lin Xingzhu, he did not address Wu Liuqi as ‘Xiangzhu’; presumably because Lin Xingzhu did not belong to Tian Di Hui. Therefore, he also refrained from addressing Chen Jinnan as ‘Zongduozhu’.
Chen Jinnan said, “Our China’s land is vast and its people numerous; if there is no traitor who respond to them from the inside, it will be extremely difficult for foreigners to force their way in.”
“Precisely,” everybody said, “The Tatars occupies our rivers and mountains, they were entirely dependent upon that traitor Wu Sangui to lead the way.”
Chen Jinnan said, “Nowadays Wu Sangui is colluding with the Luocha Country. When he deploys his troops to rebel, in one vigorous effort we must try to destroy him first. If Luocha Country does not have anybody inside to respond, they will not invade rashly.”
Ma Chaoxing said, “But if Wu Sangui is defeated too quickly, he won’t fight the Tatars until both sides suffer.”
“That is also correct,” Chen Jinnan said, “But in term of formidable power, Luocha people are more dreadful than the Tatars.”
“That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Tatars also have yellow skin, black eyes and flat nose; not much different than us. Their language is also similar. Foreign devils have red hair and green eyes, plus they talk gibberish; who could understand?”
They discussed the affair of the country for a while. The sky gradually brightened, the storm had also abated. Ma Chaoxing said, “Everybody’s clothes are wet, please come ashore and drink a cup to drive the cold away.”
“Very well,” Chen Jinnan said.
The storm had blown the boat more than thirty li; by the time they returned to Luizhou, it was already almost noon. They all disembarked from the same dock they left. They saw someone rushed over and called out, “Xianggong [young master], you … you are back.” It was none other than Shuang’er. Her whole body was dripping wet, but her face looked happy.
“Why are you here?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Shuang’er replied, “There was a big storm last night, and you were travelling by boat; I was really worried. I only hoped Xianggong would come back sooner safe and sound.”
“And you have been waiting here all along?” Wei Xiaobao asked in surprise.
Thank You Foxs
Your translation is really good. If it was like the professional translations we would get no feeling of how the Chinese Language works.
Thanks foxs....I thought history taught us that the Chinese invented fireworks first ??? err...is it that the Europeans perfected it to be used in firearms ( was it like that ? ). Anyway fireworks can also be used to create havoc in war especially if the number of soldiers are huge......but it was never used..because it's too inaccurate ??
Looks like there's lots of things I am blurr of.....
Anh, thanks for the compliment. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this project, I realize that my sentences would sound weird, but I am making conscious effort to follow the original as closely as possible. More often than not I chose direct translation over equivalent English words or phrases. Anyway, I am glad you like it. Crazee, I don't understand what Shuang'er saw in him that she was so devoted to him? About fireworks, I think you are right, but making firearms and cannon involves metallurgy, the technology which I think the Chinese did not have at that time.
“Yes,” Shuang’er replied, “I … I … was worried …”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Worried that the boat I ride on would sink?”
Shuang’er said in a low voice, “I know your luck is good, your boat can’t possibly sink, but … but …”
A boatman standing nearby on the dock said with a laugh, “This young master, late at night last night, when the storm was the fiercest, wanted to hire our boat to go to the river, saying that he must look for someone. At first he offered fifty taels, nobody took it. And then he offered a hundred taels. Zhang Laosan [ol’ Zhang the third] was greedy for the money; he agreed. But as they were about to set sail, ‘crack!’ the storm blew his mast and broke it. When that happened, nobody dared to go. He was so anxious that he could only cry.”
Wei Xiaobao’s heart was touched; he grabbed Shuang’er’s hands and said, “Shuang’er, you are very good to me.” Shuang’er blushed, and lowered her head.
The party arrived at Ma Chaoxing’s temporary lodging and changed their clothes there. Chen Jinnan instructed Ma Chaoxing to send his people out to investigate Zheng Gongzi and Feng Xifan’s whereabouts. Ma Chaoxing complied. He sent his people to investigate, and then he reported the Latter Family Hall’s business.
Ma Chaoxing prepared a banquet and asked Chen Jinnan to sit on the seat of honor, with Wu Liuqi sat on the seat next to him. He asked Wei Xiaobao to sit on the third seat, but Wei Xiaobao said, “Lin Dage broke through Taiwan, Di Tang Saber chopped the red-hair’s ham. He has established such a great merit, even if Xiongdi has to stand up to accompany him drinking, I am most willing. This kind of hero, how could Xiongdi dare to sit above him?” He pulled Lin Xingzhu and had him sit on the third seat. Lin Xingzhu was greatly delighted; he thought that although Jun Shi’s disciple was young, he was truly a good friend.
After the banquet was over, the four Tian Di Hui men gathered in the side room to discuss official business. “Xiaobao,” Chen Jinnan said, “You have an important matter at hand, this time we, master and disciple, still cannot be together too long. Tomorrow you may head north.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, “It’s a pity that this time I cannot listen too much to Shifu’s instruction. Actually, I also wanted to listen to Wu Dage’s heroic exploits, but I have to wait until Wu Sangui is defeated before I can listen to his story.”
Wu Liuqi laughed and said, “Your Wu Dage does not have any heroic exploits. In all my life, I have actually committed not a few bad things. If not for Mr. Zha Yihuang giving me a lesson, I would have still act as accomplice to the tiger, haplessly giving my life for the Tatars.”
Wei Xiaobao took out the foreign-made gun presented by Wu Sangui as a gift, and said to Wu Liuqi, “Wu Dage, you have travelled far to see Xiongdi, I really can’t thank you enough. Please take this Luocha Country’s gun as a souvenir.” Actually, Wu Sangui gave him a pair. When Wei Xiaobao was rescuing Mu Jianping, he gave the other one to Xia Guoxiang as a proof. And then in his rush to leave Yunnan, he did not have time to ask it back.
Wu Liuqi thanked him and received the gun. He packed the gunpowder and installed a bullet in it. Igniting the fuse, he aimed the gun toward the front courtyard. There was a spark, followed by a loud bang; the green flagstone on the front courtyard shattered, fragments of stone flew everywhere. Everybody was scared.
Chen Jinnan knitted his brows, thinking, “Luocha Country’s firearms are surprisingly this sharp; if they send troops to invade, it would be really hard to stop them.”
Wei Xiaobao took out four sheets of five thousand taels banknote, and gave them to Ma Chaoxing; he said with a laugh, “Ma Dage, I will have to bother you to invite your precious Hall’s brothers to drink a cup of wine.”
Ma Chaoxing laughed and said, “Twenty thousand taels? Might be too much. Even if we drink for three years, there will still be some left over.” He thanked him and accepted the gift.
Wei Xiaobao kneeled down in front of Chen Jinnan to take his leave. Chen Jinnan reached out to help him up; he patted Wei Xiaobao’s shoulder and said with a laugh, “You are very good, you become Chen Jinnan’s disciple not in vain.”
Wei Xiaobao stood close to him, he could see him clearly; he saw both sides of his temples were graying, his countenance was thin and pallid. Wei Xiaobao thought that his Shifu was always on the go in Jianghu over the past few years, braving the wind and frost and hardships; he could not help but was grieved, and wanted very much to give something to him. He mused, “Shifu does not want money; jewels, curios or toys he also does not like. Shifu’s martial art skill is superb, he won’t want my dagger or precious clothes.” Suddenly he said on impulse, “Shifu, there is something I need to report to you, Senior.”
Knowing that those two, master and disciple had something to discuss, Wu Liuqi and Ma Chaoxing withdrew.
Wei Xiaobao reached into his inner pocket, the one close to his flesh, and took a package. Untying the string outside the package, he uncovered a layer of oilcloth, and then inside there were two more layers of wax paper. Finally he showed the pieces of sheepskin he took from the cover of the eight copies of the Forty-two-chapter Sutra. “Shifu,” he said, “Disciple does not have anything to show filial respect to you, Senior; please accept this package of skin pieces.”
Chen Jinnan was greatly astonished. “What are those?” he asked.
Thereupon Wei Xiaobao told him everything about the history of these pieces of skin. The more Chen Jinnan listened, the more his face turned serious. He heard about the Empress Dowager, the Emperor, Oboi, the Great Lama of Tibet, the one-armed nun Jiu Nan, the Cult Leader of Divine Dragon Cult, and the others, people with special background, not one of those people did not rack their brains trying to get these pieces of skin. He heard about the secret hidden in these skins involving Manchurian Qing Tatars’ dragon vein and large amount of treasure. Not even in his wildest dream would he think about these things. He questioned Wei Xiaobao in details, and Wei Xiaobao told him everything. Naturally some details, like the Cult Leader of Divine Dragon Cult taught him some moves, and that he bowed to Jiu Nan to take her as his Shifu, were skipped.
Chen Jinnan was deep in thought for half a day. Finally he said, “This package is really no small matter; we, master and disciple, could lead the brothers of our Society to dig the Tatars’ dragon vein, take out the treasure, send the troops in an uprising; this is indeed an amazing merit of our age. However, I am about to return to Taiwan to appear before Wangye. If I carry this package with me on the sea back and forth, I am afraid I might lose it. For the time being you’d better keep it. When I am back from Taiwan, I am going to Beijing to see you, and then we will attempt to do this important matter together.”
“Alright!” Wei Xiaobao said, “In that case, Shifu, please come to Beijing as quickly as possible.”
“Don’t worry,” Chen Jinnan said, “I won’t stay a moment longer. Xiaobao, your Shifu has been rushing about all his life, for the sake of conspiring to restore the Ming. I see it with my own eyes that as the days go by, the previous dynasty is gradually fading from the common people’s mind. The Tatars’ young emperor is running the administration very properly; the great undertaking is getting more and more uncertain. Unexpectedly Wu Sangui is finally going to raise the troops in rebellion, plus you obtained this buried treasure map. This is indeed a huge favorable turn of events.” Speaking to this point, his countenance brightened considerably.
His facial features were actually elegant, but he always appeared to be filled with concerns. This moment his spirit was greatly aroused, Wei Xiaobao was very happy to look at him.
“How is the poison in your body?” Chen Jinnan asked, “Is it better?”
“Disciple has taken the antidote given by Shen Long Jiao’s Hong Jiaozhu,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “The poison is completely neutralized.”
“That’s very good,” Chen Jinnan happily said, “You are bearing the ten-thousand catty of great responsibility of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming on your shoulders, in everything you must take a good care of yourself.” While saying that, he put his hands on Wei Xiaobao’s shoulder.
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Disciple is a hideous mess, I don’t understand anything. Obtaining these pieces of skin is no more than stroke of luck. Each time it was just like I was being the banker, eating the bounty of the family for free. Heaven’s pole eats heaven’s pole, individual ten eats individual ten; winning is very easy.”
Chen Jinnan smiled. “When you get back to Beijing,” he said, “Bold your door and close your window at night, slowly piece these skins together, construct the map, and then record the map firmly in your mind, memorize it well. After you remember without any mistake, disassemble the pieces of skin, divide it into seven or eight packages, and hide them in different places. Xiaobao, there will always be good things and bad things about someone’s luck; you can’t expect to always have propitious wind throughout the journey. In such an important matter like this, we must not depend on good luck alone.”
“Shifu is right,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Just like when I play Pai Jiu and become the banker, until now I have won eight plays; if I happen to lose and have to compensate, this package of pieces of skin might be taken away by other people, won’t that be a total defeat of an army, a leveling off of my bank? Therefore, after successively winning eight plays, I have to stop being the banker.”
Chen Jinnan thought that this child’s gambling character was really strong. He smiled and said, “It’s good that you understand this logic. Winning or losing in gambling is not a big deal. In the important matter we are planning, even if we have to deliver our lives, it is also a common matter. But the object in this package involves the lives and properties of million upon millions of people in the world; you must absolutely not lose it.”
“That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “After I won, I brought the money home, and hid it under my bed. I would chop my finger so that I cannot gamble anymore; that way I will never lose.”
Chen Jinnan walked to the window and looked up to the sky. “Xiaobao,” he softly said, “After hearing this news, even if I had to die immediately, my heart is very happy.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “When I saw Shifu in the former days, he was always in high spirit; why is it this time he is always thinking of dying?” He said, “Shifu, whatever it is that you have to attend to at the Yanping Wang palace, your heart is not too happy; is that right?”
Chen Jinnan turned around with a surprised look on his face. “How do you know?” he asked.
Wei Xiaobao replied, “I can see that Shifu does not appear to be very happy. But I know that in this world, even more difficult things, you have never taken it to your heart. All heroes and warriors of Jianghu are also holding you in high regards. I think that you are not afraid of even the Emperor himself. Throughout the world, only Zheng Wangye, one person, could give you reason to worry.”
Chen Jinnan sighed. After half a day of silence, he said, “Wangye has always treated me with respect, plus he relies on me heavily.”
“Um, it must be that fellow Zheng Er Gongzi [second young master] who put on damned obnoxious airs and offended you,” Wei Xiaobao said.
“In the past,” Chen Jinnan said, “Guoxing Ye’s kindness to me was as heavy as the mountain. I have early on pledged my life to repay it, to bend to a task and spare no effort in attending to his Zheng family’s matters until the day I die. Zheng Er Gongzi is young, he may have said some improper things to me, but I do take it to heart. Wangye’s heir apparent is wise and loves the people, but he is born of a concubine.”
Wei Xiaobao did not understand, “What do you mean ‘he is born of a concubine’?”
“That means he was not born to the Wangfei [wife of a ‘king’, I guess the western equivalent would be a duchess],” Chen Jinnan explained.
“Ah, I understand,” Wei Xiaobao said, “He was born of Wangye’s mistress.”
Chen Jinnan felt that Wei Xiaobao’s wording was too vulgar, but remembering that he was uneducated, he did not care too much. “Right,” he said, “In the past, Guoxing Ye’s death was also closely related to this issue, for this reason Wangtaifei [mother of the ‘king’] did not like the heir apparent very much. She repeatedly told Wangye to depose the heir apparent, and set up the Er Gongzi as the heir apparent.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head vehemently and said, “Er Gongzi is a useless muddle head, and he fears death; that won’t do! This fellow is a scoundrel, useless, a damned b@stard son of a b1tch. The other day he was trying to kill Shifu, you, Senior.”
Chen Jinnan’s countenance sank slightly. “Xiaobao,” he reprimanded, “Clean your mouth a bit! Didn’t that mean you were cursing Wangye?”
“Ah!” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, while pressing his hand over his mouth. “I deserve to die!” he said, “I must not curse people with these three characters ‘wang ba dan’ [s.o.b.] casually.”
Chen Jinnan said, “Comparing those two young masters, in everything Er Gongzi cannot surpass his Gege; only his facial features are smart, his mouth is sweet, he knows how to make his [paternal] grandmother happy …”
Wei Xiaobao slapped his thigh. “That’s right,” he said, “Womenfolk don’t know anything; seeing a pretty boy who knows how to flatter, they thought he is a treasure.”
Chen Jinnan did not know Wei Xiaobao was referring to Ah Ke. He shook his head and said, “Wangye has not agreed to change the heir apparent. All the civil and military officials are also urging Wangye not to change his mind. Consequently, while it’s true that these two young masters have become estranged, oftentimes Taifei and Wangye, mother and child, are also in disagreement with each other over this matter. Sometimes when Taifei is angry, she would summon us to vent her anger.”
Last edited by foxs; 04-03-12 at 07:45 PM.
"... Wei Xiaobao stood close to him, he could see him clearly; he saw both sides of his temples were graying, his countenance was thin and pallid. Wei Xiaobao thought that his Shifu was always on the go in Jianghu over the past few years, braving the wind and frost and hardships; he could not help but was grieved, and wanted very much to give something to him. He mused, “Shifu does not want money; jewels, curios or toys he also does not like. Shifu’s martial art skill is superb, he won’t want my dagger or precious clothes.”
Incredible!! This last translation was easily one of the best passages in the story so far... the close moment spent between WXB and his Chen shifu... it was super touching... priceless!!! And lo and behold... the person whom WXB decided to give the complete pieces of skin from the sutra turned out to be his shifu Chen Jinnan. Man... I just loved this last passage so much!! Thank you Foxs, you've brought so much joy to your readers!
And this last part alone contained so many instances that showed how WXB was such an extremely astute politician. All the fancy jianghu martial arts masters in Tian Di Hui combined could not even compare to this weak, illiterate kid in terms of what they have achieved for the cause. Mighty generals can wield and shape the outcome of war; but it only takes one politician to wield and shape the destiny of mankind. Not to say that I like politicians very much...
Jin Yong's last work is truly a masterpiece... I love this story so so much! It's like a satire (but nevertheless true) depiction of life; so much interplay between luck and irony: how an accomplished and renowned saber-master like Hu Yizhi can turn into a useless, pathetic bum just because of a woman who probably never even took notice of him, and how a slacker, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well kid like WXB can rise up and control the fate of the world. And the fact that the two of them became the best of friends and swore brotherhood... man, Jin Yong really piled irony on top of irony.
I think Napoleon once said something like: "I'd rather have a lucky general than a good general." Life is not fair and full of irony - I too personally would wish to be lucky first before anything else - it's just ironic that luck is not within anyone's control.
Thank you again so much Foxs!!
Last edited by muliono; 04-01-12 at 01:35 PM.
As allways an awesome read
Yep...Muliono and Ali summed it up nicely. The scene is so touching and for once XB is really fully devoted to a shifu.
It goes to show the character of Chen Jin Nan. Pity not much about him....he's practically a side story in this novel....
Again it goes to show why the bigger quest for China fails..... with stupid leaders who do not know how to use good people.
Thanks Foxs...a touching part here.
Yes, I don't recall the scene on the river but I suppose with the constraints of tv budgets, that scene introduces many side characters that may be less important in the story.
Foxs - I thoroughly enjoy your translation!
Anh, Ali, you are welcome. Muliono, nice commentary. Crazee, sometimes when I translated certain part, I thought, 'This part is slow', but it turned out that you guys like it. Smurf, thanks for enjoying it.
“This old …” Wei Xiaobao started; he was about to say ‘old wh0re’, three characters [lao biao zi], but managed to stop just in time. Hastily he changed his statement, “When elderly ladies [orig. lao tai tai] grow old, they become muddleheaded. Shifu, since you cannot solve the Zheng family problem and you cannot offend them, you might as well let each of them sweeping the snow from their own front door, don’t care if there is frost on the tiles of their roof.”
Chen Jinnan sighed, “My life is no longer mine,” he said, “I have already sold it to Guoxing Ye long time ago. In this life, when you receive kindness you ought to repay. In the past Guoxing Ye has entrusted our country’s territory to me, I should be responsible for our country’s territory to repay him. Presently the number of capable people by Wangye’s side is diminishing with each passing day, I simply cannot cultivate my own moral worth and abandoning him. Ay! The great undertaking is difficult. All I can do is to let this matter runs its own course.” Speaking to this point, he sounded like he had lost any enthusiasm.
Wei Xiaobao wanted to say something to console him, but momentarily he did not know what to say. After a while he said, “Yesterday we were originally going to …” while saying that, he raised his hand and ran it across his neck, “… with one knife cutting that Zheng Keshuang into two, to get rid of him completely. But Ma Dage said that if we do that, we may make Shifu lose your standing, you would be charged with something like ‘tearing the master’ [si zhu] accusation.”
“Yes, ‘killing the master’ [shi zhu],” Chen Jinnan said, “Ma Xiongdi is absolutely right. If you killed Zheng Gongzi, how could I have the face to see Wangye? Another day in the next world [orig. nine springs], I will have no face to see Guoxing Ye.
“Shifu,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Why don’t you take me to see this Wangtaifei of the Zheng Family? Disciple has various techniques to deal with this kind of elderly lady.” He thought that since he managed to deal with the fake empress dowager, that even the real Empress Dowager was very obedient to him, dealing with one Wangtaifei should not be any problem.
Chen Jinnan smiled and said, “Don’t fool around!” Holding Wei Xiaobao’s hand, he took him out of the room.
[Book note: Taiwan’s Yanping Jun Wang Zheng Jing’s eldest son, Keshang, was Chen Yonghua’s son-in-law; he was a resolute and decisive man. Zheng Jing appointed him as the heir apparent, and to act as the Regent in military campaigns. As Keshang solidify his power and win public approval, his numerous [younger] uncles and [younger] brothers became resentful of him. They made up a story that his mother pregnancy was with certain Butcher Li. After the deaths of Zheng Jing and Chen Yonghua, Keshang murdered Dong Taifei and his numerous [younger] brothers.]
Immediately Wei Xiaobao took his leave from his Shifu, Wu Liuqi and Ma Chaoxing. Wu and Ma, two people, walked him to the door.
“Wei Xiongdi,” Wu Liuqi said, “Your little servant girl, Shuang’er, I have sworn brotherhood with her, we are now brother and sister.”
Wei Xiaobao and Ma Chaoxing were stunned. They turned their head to look at Shuang’er, and saw her looking down, but her cheeks were blushing; she looked extremely bashful.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Wu Dage is very good at making jokes.”
With a serious expression Wu Liuqi said, “It’s not a joke. My Yi Mei [foster/sworn younger sister] is loyal, righteous and brave; she surpasses men. She is precisely the woman of our generation. As her Gege, I respect her very much. I saw how you swear brotherhood with the ‘Hundred Victory Saber King’ Hu Yizhi; your brotherhood is very strong. I wanted to follow suit, thereupon I wanted to become the sworn brother of Shuang’er. She said she did not want to, no matter what, saying that she could not climb the social ladder. I told her I am an old beggar, what climbing or descending social ladder? I simply must swear brotherhood with her. She had no choice but to comply.”
Ma Chaoxing said, “So when the two of you had a private discussion in that room a moment ago, you were talking about this brotherhood.”
“Exactly,” Wu Liuqi said, “Shuang’er Meizi [younger sister, term of endearment] told me not to say anything about this. Ha ha … becoming sworn brother and sister is just and honorable; why can’t I tell anybody?”
Only after listening to him did Wei Xiaobao realize that he was not joking. He looked at Wu Liuqi, and then he looked at Shuang’er, he felt it was very strange.
“Wei Xiongdi,” Wu Liuqi said, “From now on you must view this Yi Mei of mine in a new light. If you offend her, I will make life difficult for you.”
“No … that’s impossible,” Shuang’er busily said, “Xianggong, he … he treats me very well.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “With a Dage like you supporting her, even the Jade Emperor, the old man Yanluo [Yama, King of Hell] would not dare to offend her.” The three of them roared in laughter. They cupped their fists across their chests and bade farewell.
Returning to their temporary lodging, Wei Xiaobao asked Shuang’er about the sworn brotherhood business. Shuang’er was very bashful, she said, “That Wu … Wu Ye [master] …”
“What Wu Ye?” Wei Xiaobao cut her off, “Dage is Dage; you have sworn brotherhood with him, don’t tell me it did not count.”
“Yes,” Shuang’er said, “He said that in his opinion, I am not bad; hence he was determined to become sworn brother and sister with me.” From her pocket she took out the gun and said, “He said that he did not bring anything good with him; this gun was presented by Xianggong as a gift to him. In turn, he gave this to me. Xianggong, please take it to defend yourself.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his hand repeatedly; he said, “It was a gift from your Dage, how can you return it to me?”
Remembering Wu Liuqi’s conducts had always been beyond other people’s expectation, he could not help but clicking his tongue in wonder; he also thought, “His name is ‘Liuqi’ [six strange/wonderful/weird]; no wonder, no wonder! I wonder what are the other five?”
The party slowly headed back to the Capital. Along the way Jiu Nan taught Wei Xiaobao a boxing technique, and told him to practice. But Wei Xiaobao was unstable and jumpy, no matter what he just could not concentrate on learning martial art. Jiu Nan told him to demonstrate in her presence, but from her disciple’s stance and style, she could tell that he had not learned even half a part of real martial art. She sighed and said, “Although you and I have a master-disciple relationship, but looking at your temper, frankly you are not a martial art practitioner material. Very well, let’s do it this way: our Tie Jian Men [Iron Sword School] have a skill called ‘Shen Xing Bai Bian’ [divine line hundred changes], it was created by my Enshi [benevolent master] Priest Mu Sang. It is the chief among the qinggong skills in the world. This type of qinggong needs profound internal energy as its foundation that even you will not be able to comprehend. You don’t have even one school’s skill on you; someday when you meet a danger, how would you deal with it? I have no choice but to teach you a technique with which you can escape.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; he said, “When the soles of the feet can rub oil, fighting is nothing to worry about. If Shifu teach me the technique to escape, definitely no one can overtake me.”
Jiu Nan smiled and said, “‘Shen Xing Bai Bian’ is incomparable in the world, in those days its prestige shook Wulin, yet now you only want to use it to rub oil on your feet. If under the ground Enshi knew, he would not want to acknowledge a lacking-prospect grand-disciple like you. However, apart from this, I have no other skill to pass on to you that you can learn.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Shifu accepted a lacking-prospect disciple like me, you have already shown great favor. However, in gambling there are winning and there are losing; this time Shifu’s luck is no good and thus have accepted this kind of disciple. It can be considered that you have lost big. Laotianye has eyes; He will bless Shifu so that in the future Shifu will win eight plays in a row, you will accept eight good disciples whose prestige will shake the world.”
Jiu Nan let out a ‘hey, hey’ laugh; she patted his shoulder and said, “Those with good martial art skill are not necessarily good people. You don’t like learning martial art, it was your inborn nature; we can’t force it. Other than your glib tongue, you can be considered my good disciple.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted, there was a burst of excitement bubbling up in his heart, and on impulse he wanted to give the sheepskin pieces to Jiu Nan; but then he thought, “I have already given these skin pieces to my man Shifu, I can’t give it to my woman Shifu as well. Fortunately both Shifu wish to drive the Tatars away, to recover our Han people’s rivers and mountains, it does not matter if I give it to one or the other.”
Thereupon Jiu Nan explained a little bit of the stance and footwork of the ‘Shen Xing Bai Bian’ that did not require any internal energy foundation. Strange things happened. Generally, when he learned fist technique or palm technique, he would dabble and stop, and was unwilling to train diligently. Toward this escape technique, however, he showed great interest. The whole journey he learned it with keen interest; as soon as he was free, he would practice. Sometimes he would ask Xu Tianchuan, whose qinggong was outstanding, to chase him around, while he would run to the east and flee to the west to evade. Seeing his marvelous movements, Xu Tianchuan was quite impressed. Initially Xu Tianchuan was able to overtake him several times, but as Jiu Nan continuously imparted new tricks, by the time they reached Zhili’s border, no matter what Xu Tianchuan was not able to catch him anymore.
Seeing that Wei Xiaobao seemed to have a predestined affinity to the ‘Shen Xing Bai Bian’ qinggong, Jiu Nan herself was also greatly amazed. She said, “Looks like you were born with a natural talent in ‘escaping without a trace’.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Disciple’s training is inadequate. The ‘Shen Xing Bai Bian’ has become the ‘Shen Xing Mo You’ [divine line rubbing oil]; in the end it was not a total failure.”
He poured a bowl of fresh tea and presented it with both hands to Jiu Nan. “Shifu,” he asked, “Since Shizu [ancestor master] Priest Mu Sang has passed away, in the world today, you, Senior, are the number one in martial art?”
Jiu Nan shook her head. “I am not,” she said, “How can I dare to make the claim those six characters ‘the world’s number one martial artist’ [tian xia wu gong di yi] without justification?” She cast her glance outside the window and grimly said, “There is someone who deserves the title ‘the world’s number one martial artist’.”
“Who is that?” Wei Xiaobao hastily asked, “Disciple surely must call to pay my respect.”
“He … he …” Jiu Nan said; suddenly her eyes reddened and she stopped talking.
“Who is this Senior?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “If by fate someday disciple is able to meet him, I will respectfully kowtow several times to him.”
Jiu Nan waved her hand, telling him to get out. Wei Xiaobao was very baffled; he slowly stepped out, while thinking, “Shifu’s expression is very strange. Could it be that this ‘number one martial artist in the world’ was her old lover?”
At this moment Jiu Nan’s mind was precisely on Yuan Chengzhi, who was ten-thousand li away across the sea. She had fallen in love to Yuan Chengzhi, but Yuan Chengzhi’s feeling toward her was different. For more than twenty years this feeling had been buried deep at the bottom of her heart, but this time it had resurfaced due to Wei Xiaobao’s provocation.
The next day came to Jiu Nan’s room to pay his respect, but she had already left, and left only a brief note. Wei Xiaobao took the note and asked Xu Tianchuan to read it for him, it says, ‘Do your best’ [hao zi wei zhi], four characters. Wei Xiaobao felt a twang of heaviness in his heart; he mused, “I asked Shifu yesterday about ‘the world’s number one martial artist’; is it possible that my question have offended her?”
One day the party arrived in Beijing. Princess Jianning and Wei Xiaobao went to have an audience with the Emperor together. Kangxi had already received the memorial to the throne, and had issued an imperial decree to allow Wu Yingxiong to come to the Capital to conclude the wedding ceremony. Upon seeing his younger sister and Wei Xiaobao, his heart was very happy.
Princess Jianning threw herself forward and wrapped her arms around Kangxi. Bursting into tears, she said, “That fellow Wu Yingxiong bullied me.”
Kangxi laughed and said, “That fellow is this brazen, let me spank his bottom later. How did he bully you?”
The Princess cried, “You ask Xiao Guizi. He bullied me, he bullied me! Huangdi Gege [big brother emperor], you must back me up.” While crying, she repeatedly stomped her foot.
Kangxi laughed and said, “Alright, why don’t you go back to your room and take a rest. I will ask Xiao Guizi.”
Early on Princess Jianning and Wei Xiaobao had decided on how they were going to report Wu Yingxiong’s rudeness when they saw Kangxi. As soon as the Princess withdrew, Wei Xiaobao then told Kangxi in details.
Kangxi frowned, he listened quietly until Wei Xiaobao finished. After pondering for half a day, he suddenly said, “Xiao Guizi, you are very brazen!”
Wei Xiaobao jumped in fright. “Your servant does not dare,” he said hastily.
“You are in cahoots with the Princess, you dare to deceive me,” Kangxi said.
“I did not,” Wei Xiaobao said, “How can your servant dare to deceive Your Majesty?”
Kangxi said, “Wu Yingxiong being rude to the Princess, you did not see it with your own eyes. How could you report to me in this way based on the Princess’s one-sided statement?”
Wei Xiaobao mused, “My goodness, this is serious. The young Emperor is very formidable; he is able to look through the flaw.” Busily he kneeled down and kowtowed, saying, “Your Majesty can see clearly for ten-thousand li. As how Wu Yingxiong was being rude to the Princess, your servant indeed did not see it with my own eyes; but at that time there were many people standing outside the Princess’ window. Everybody could hear it with our own ears.”
 This book note does not exist in the book (3rd edition), but it does in the online text (2nd edition).
A nice distraction from work
Thanks Foxs, truly enjoyed reading it
It has been a wild but delicious roller coaster ride going thro all the pages.
It is definitely enjoyable, especially with the translation retaining its cultural context and words.
Thank you and looking forward to the next instalment!
I'm surprised that JY did not try to explain the reason for Wu Luqui wanting to become brother to Shang'er. Explanations I have seen usually point to WLQ being impressed with Shang'er's loyalty and bravery so he wanted to help her become an equal on a social level to WXB so she can finally feel like a lady instead of a servant.
After reading about his distaste for Ah Ke, I'm adding that he is rooting for Shang'er to displace Ah Ke in WXB's eyes.
Thanks for the update Foxs.
Well, I'm crazee that's why my interest level is different heh heh heh.
Anyway, I find the relationship between CJN and XB touching as with Jui Nan too.
It can be seen that XB respects only these 2 whole heartedly and the length he goes to to please them.
Of shuanger is superior compared to ah Ke.....anyway, XB treats her with utmost care and respect at least when she is around. She is more of an equal than a subordinate.
Kang Xi is definitely careful and sharp....He really analyse and catch the situation fast.
CJN is the missed Father figure that XB wanted deeped in his heart.
This is the second big opportunity missed to deliver a heavy blow to the Qing because of internal strife at Taiwan. Why can't CJN follows Yue Fei's decisions to disobey imperial commands to return to the Capital because of the military advantages of not to obey the commands?
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree